Makos wrap up regular season, prepare for champs

Fluvanna looked strong in the opening events of the meet with the eight and under boys’ relay of Nate Klipp, Ryan Mackey, Braedan Garrett and Gus Jones finishing just seconds ahead of Fairview. The girls relay of Alexa John Hudock, Nora Wells, Allyson Lounsbury, and Zoe Dixon followed suit with another close victory for FAST. However, Fairview battled back throughout the IM events to tie the score 91–91. After two more series of events, the score would be tied once more at 257-257.

The competitive atmosphere shifted when one Fluvanna swimmer entered the water: Aaron Nalle, age seven, competed in his first meet for the Makos. His family cheered by his lane and his brother videotaped the swim. As Aaron made his way down the pool, his family found them surrounded as everyone on the two teams gravitated to his lane to cheer on Aaron. Aaron, determined to learn, overcame his limited arm movement and successfully completed several 25-meter swims to prepare for his first race. His strength, good humor and desire to learn to swim are an inspiration to all of the Makos, and on the night of the meet, it was moving to everyone present. When Aaron touched the wall more than four minutes after he started, the entire deck erupted in applause and Aaron smiled at the crowd. In that moment, the true spirit of the Jefferson Swim League was embodied by one seven-year-old swimmer’s fight to the finish, and the roar of the crowd as he did.

For the veterans on the team, it was another opportunity to improve, and many Fluvanna swimmers saw large time drops throughout the night. Twins Aaron and Aidan Johnson each dropped more than seven seconds in the IM event while Kathy Cumiskey improved by more than six seconds in the same race. Ahmad Woodson improved by more than 10 seconds in his 25-meter freestyle while teammates Luke Wells and Robbie Maloney dropped 15 seconds and 3.5 seconds in the same race.

On the girls; side, Taylor Slinkman dropped more than 20 seconds in her 25-meter freestyle. Slinkman is no stranger to large time improvements. Last year she received the Jefferson Swim League (JSL) On Fire award for dropping more than 23 seconds in her race. Katie Henderson also dropped time for the Makos, and Addy McKnight improved by more than 25 seconds.

Other large time drops include Kelsey Dressler and K.K. Hintzmen in the 50-meter freestyle, Jackson Hopkins in the 25-meter butterfly, Katelyn Pfueffer in the 50-meter butterfly, Ryan Scopelliti, Ashlyn Saylor, Savannah Bailey and Luke Wells in the 25-meter backstroke, Hunter Strickland and Kathy Cumiskey in the 50-meter backstroke, Joey Hagan in the 25-meter breaststroke and Owen Strickland in the 50-meter breaststroke.  Many more Makos earned gold times and time improvements throughout the meet.

Next week, FAST will compete with 16 other teams, including the Lake Monticello Sharks, as all the divisions come together to race in the Jefferson Swim League Championship meet. This year the two-day meet will be held at Fork Union on Friday and Saturday. This is the first time in league history the meet will be held in a 25-meter pool. This means an additional set of championship records will be created, and the Makos hope to become a part of the new records. Next week, there will be championship results and season highlights as the Makos wrap up the season.

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